Suzanne Leyden, qualified nutrition, health and wellness coach and owner of The WellNow Co outlines seven simple strategies for staying well in stressful times.

As a busy working parent, I can totally relate to the struggle of juggling it all in the best of times. Throw a global pandemic and homeschooling into the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for total overload.

I’ve pulled together seven simple strategies for staying well so as to keep you feeling good and help you manage the juggle a little better. None of this may be rocket science, but that’s the beauty of it.

Sometimes we just need reminding of these simple things, and permission to do them. 

Start by asking yourself how you’re feeling and whether you could tweak your habits and routine to make you feel less stressed, more energised and more productive both at work and for you and your family.

Then take a look at the suggestions below and see which ones might just be doable over the next week for you. Maybe just pick one or two to start with if that works for you. Or maybe you’re more gung-ho and want to change lots all at once. Changing behaviour is very individual so just be sure that 'you do you!’.

Take or leave these tips as you wish:

1. Take regular breaks
Breaks that involve moving your body and settling your mind are best but, if you're tight on time, a few stretches and a few mins of box breathing can benefit hugely.

2. Reduce your caffeine intake
Coffee has been a lifeline for me over the last year, but it can play havoc with your body and mind. Reducing your intake to 1-2 cups a day and trying to limit it to before lunchtime is best. This should have a positive impact on your sleep too.

3. Stay hydrated
This is one I have to consciously do because otherwise distraction gets in my way. My trick to consuming my 2 litres per day is to fill my stainless steel water bottle in the morning (or even the night before so it’s to hand while I’m getting ready for the day), and drink some with my breakfast and then the bottle follows me to my desk and on my breaks, refilling it frequently. I can accurately tell how much I’ve had. It’s a game changer to be properly hydrated.

4. Set clear boundaries, if you can
This is a tricky one but do your best to delineate between working and not working. Whether it be working from home or homeschooling (or both), try to set the duration of time that works for you and set a clear schedule for it. Have the phone off and focus on the task at hand. This will help to keep structure to your day and give you a definitive 'switching off' time.

5. Have healthy snacks to hand
It’s not to say you can’t have something unhealthy to eat, but to opt for a healthy treat will stand to you, your energy and mood so much better than a raft of highly processed sugary ‘treats’. Operation Transformation have a great range of snacks that you can make at home such as this Fruit 'n' Nut Bar, Oaty Banana Buns or a simple bowl of fruit and yoghurt.

6. Stay connected
Talk to at least one friend or non-work related person every day, even if for just a few minutes. It may be to have a laugh, to vent or just simply to say hi. It will keep your spirits lifted in this tough time.

7. Journal
Putting down on paper how you feel can offer a great release. You can also track your small changes in nutrition or movement and how your feeling so you can see your improvements or when you might need to tweak how you’re approaching something.

As I said, there’s nothing revelationary here, but keeping things simple is just fine. I hope something here helps you feel a little better than before. 

Stay safe and stay well.

Suzanne